Nigerian Senate on Wednesday began consideration of a bill to amend the country’s Electoral Act.
The Bill which scaled Second Reading is for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act (No.6), 2010.
According to the Sponsors, Senators Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari, the bill which has 26 clauses, sought to amend the Electoral Act to strengthen and protect Nigeria’s democracy, and “cure specific mischiefs plaguing the nation’s elections and electoral processes.”
Leading the debate on the bill, Senator Omo-Agege said though the process under the eighth Senate was fraught with mutual suspicions and bitterness, electoral reform for the nineth National Assembly remains a priority in its legislative agenda.
The Deputy Senate President said the Bill to amend the Electoral Act seeks to enact a new Section 87 on the Nomination of Candidates by Parties for Elections by prescribing maximum fees payable by aspirants and restricting nomination criteria strictly to relevant provisions.
The bill, according to him, also seeks to make clarification under Section 38(1)(a) of the principal Act which states that “a person shall be deemed to be qualified for an elective office and his election shall not be questioned on grounds of qualification if, with respect to the particular election in question, he meets the applicable requirements of Sections 65, 107, 137 or 182 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”
The amendment to the Electoral Act will also provide sanctions for giving false information for the purpose of registering a political party and ensure that failure by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others to comply with any provision of the Act carries clear and adequate sanctions.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, after consideration of the bill, referred it to the Committee on INEC for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, a total of ten bills were taken for first reading on Wednesday.